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Texas QBs both banged up, leaving it unclear who’s healthy for Kansas State

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Forget 2022. Who’s going to start at quarterback in Friday’s season finale against Kansas State?

Casey Thompson had to be helped off the field in the closing stages of Saturday’s 31-23 loss at West Virginia. Hudson Card, who got rolled up on a possible late hit, left the game but had to limp back onto the field when the Horns got one last chance.

Both quarterbacks faced a long, uncomfortable plane ride back to Austin after getting bounced around good at Milan Puskar Stadium.

“They’re both getting X-rayed here, so I’ll probably have a better report for you guys on that Monday,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said.

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It was a long day for both of Sarkisian’s signal callers. He needed one of them to deliver considering the Horns were without running back Bijan Robinson, who has a season-ending elbow injury.

Thompson got the starting nod, but the offense opened with four consecutive three-and-outs. The offense didn’t register a single first down until Roschon Johnson had a 6-yard gain with less than 11 minutes left in the second quarter.

Texas quarterback Casey Thompson, who has been dealing with an injured thumb, finished the game 4-for-14 with 29 yards passing.

The running game had to pick up the slack. Johnson kept chipping away, and Keilan Robinson finally broke through for a 49-yard sprint to the end zone. Texas was already down 14 points at the time, so Robinson’s score allowed everyone to breathe a sigh of relief.

Cameron Dicker also drilled a 50-yard field goal before halftime, but it was clear the offense wasn’t working. Thompson, who has been playing through a thumb injury, completed only 4 of 12 passes for 29 yards before the break.

“It’s unfortunate Casey, he was not 100% coming into the game. I think that was evident,” Sarkisian said. “He just couldn’t throw the way I know he's capable of throwing. I know that’s frustrating for him. It’s frustrating for us, because I think we had some opportunities for some plays.”

Sarkisian went to Card to start the second half. On Card’s second possession, he rolled to the right and unleashed a beautiful deep ball to Xavier Worthy for a 52-yard touchdown. Texas was suddenly back in the game despite being down 21-17.

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Trainers check on Texas quarterback Hudson Card during the Longhorns' 31-23 loss Saturday to West Virginia. Card hurt his ankle in the fourth quarter.

“I feel like the first half wasn’t really us,” Worthy said. “We weren’t really executing a lot of stuff, and the second half, we just got some fire in us and got stuff executed.”

Card then led another scoring drive, this one capped by Johnson’s 6-yard touchdown run. The Horns went for the two-point conversion, but Card’s pass to a wide-open Jordan Whittington was batted down.

Texas took over again with 7:03 left in the game trailing by eight. Card hit Robinson for a 16-yard gain, and later the Lake Travis graduate ran for 13 yards to the West Virginia 32.

On second-and-6, Card threw an incomplete pass while a Mountaineer was draped around his waist. Card was dragged to the ground and struggled to get up. In came Thompson, and the Horns oddly ran Johnson off tackle for a 2-yard loss.

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Then on fourth-and-8 and needing to get a first down, Thompson threw an interception over the middle to Sean Mahone.

“I thought Hud competed his tail off, gave us a chance,” Sarkisian said. “He had a couple nice drives, and then he gets injured. It’s a questionable call; I’ve got to look at whether it was late or not. But then you’ve got to go back to a guy who’s obviously not 100% healthy, and then he gets hurt. Then you’ve got to go back to Hud and clearly wasn't 100% healthy.”

On Texas’ final drive, Thompson tried to throw a ball away on the sideline when he got swallowed up. He had to be helped off the field, and Card literally limped back on. At that point, the Horns were done. Card’s pass to Johnson on fourth-and-6 fell incomplete.

Card finished the day 10-for-16 for 123 yards with one touchdown. Thompson finished 4-for-14 with 29 yards. West Virginia had only one sack.

“So definitely adversity struck today, especially in the fourth quarter from the quarterback position, but really all day long,” Sarkisian said. “And so I appreciate Hudson and Casey battling, knowing they weren't 100% and not close to 100%. But they they gave us what they had.”

Friday's game

Kansas State at Texas

11 a.m., Fox, 104.9